Recently, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un expressed the possibility of holding talks with the South. In response, South Korean president Park Geun Hye said she was willing to meet with Kim without any preconditions. She added that North Korea’s nuclear program would not be an obstacle to holding the first Korean summit since 2007. But winter drills on either side of the heavily fortified border gives an entirely different picture.
North Korea to bolster its war-fighting capabilities
South Korean commandos are holding extreme weather drills. South Korean Major Jeong Sung Wan said in January 8 that this exercise was aimed at striking “essential enemy facilities.” They were giving their commandos rigorous training to “blow up any enemy facility.” The two countries remain technically at war for more than six decades.
North Korean troops across the border were also conducting drills. Though Park expressed her willingness to meet Kim, the South warned that North Korea was building a strong network of infiltration facilities to invade South Korea in a lightning assault. Earlier this year, Kim pledged to bolster North Korea’s war-fighting capabilities, reports Bloomberg.
South Korea plans to buy 40 F-35 jets
Since last month, Kim Jong-un has visited artillery, infantry and the air force units conducting drills, reports the official Korean Central News Agency. Kim inherited a 1.2 million strong army and oversaw three successful nuclear tests. On the other hand, South Korea has a treaty with the United States, which has stationed 28,500 troops in the South to deter any aggression from North Korea. South Korea has allocated $1.1 billion this year to build a command system that will help it carry out first strikes. It plans to buy 40 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin.
After the extreme-weather drills, South Korea will start its annual Key Resolve exercises with the United States this spring. North Korea says the spring drills are a rehearsal for an invasion. The Kim Jong-un regime said last week that the country could suspend its nuclear tests if United States ended its drills with South Korea. But the North has a history of violating its agreements.